Logs:Of bikers, booze, and books
|Of bikers, booze, and books|
|Dramatis Personae|| |
18th of June 2016
A would-be Knight daringly pursues a dark grimoire into... a bar she actually enjoys visiting
The "Murph" bar, somewhere in New Hampshire
The task is, nominally, right up Sadie's alley. 'Go to bars, find bikers, get them talking.' Of course, that they're occult-interested Aryan supremacists who *might* be in possession of some sort of seriously powerful grimoire, and *might* be responsible for the horrible deaths associated with it... that does add more than one extra element of excitement to this. But surely such things are ten a penny for a Knight of Saint Adrian, eh? And if she wants to impress the Knights, then how better to do it?
Well, there might be better options - but none seem to be on offer to Sadie at the moment. So how is she going to go about this? She's told Rocket which three bars she's intending to start with, in hope of finding members of the Chosen to impress - but is there any particular approach she wants to take, or preparations she wishes to make?
One thing Sadie can do is find a bar and get into it. When that bike has some motorcycles outside that are /almost/ as precious as hers? Well, that just adds a level of belonging. The thing that makes her stand out in places like this that are filled with people like her is the jacket she wears, so she has opted for a plain one that doesn't proclaim her club. She still has a tattoo of the club's logo on her shoulder, but there's so much ink on her that someone might not notice right away. She saunters inside, plain beat-up jacket unzipped and her helmet left back on her bike's seat. The interior lighting causes her to pause just inside, adjusting her eyesight and taking in the people and their placement within the interior.
This particular bar rejoices in the name of "Murph" - though it's clear that more than a few letters are missing from above the door, with rusting bolts and pins exposed to the weather where others long since went astray.
As far as such places go, it's really quite upscale - windows that admit light (if not *much* of it), no immediate smell of either piss or spilled gas upon entering, and no overt drug-use or weapons-trades going on in view of the main door. Behind the bar, the array of bottles looks to cover more than Jack and beer, and the sexily-clad waitress (shorts, boots, and vest all in black leather) looks to be both fit and no more than 25. The hulking bartender, however, looks as if he could easily get work as a bouncer for bare-knuckle boxing events, with an obscure metal band's logo straining across the front of his muscle-filled t-shirt. His repeatedly-broken and rather S-shaped nose leaves him breathing through an open mouth - but the look he shoots Sadie as her eyes adjust is rather more sharp than might have been expected.
The decor of the bar is 'biker-metal'... but without any obvious gang tags on display on the walls. And there're clearly representatives of more than one club present, as well as a few (at least temporarily) unmarked individuals in addition to Sadie. It's even sufficiently friendly that it doesn't go *completely* silent as Sadie enters...
Sadie does glance the girls over, but it's only with a passing interest. She's clearly not trolling for their phone numbers. More like she's judging their clothing. You can tell a lot about an establishment by what the staff wears, after all. It's the bartender that gets most of her attention as she sidles up to the bar. "Gonna guess you have PBR?" she asks hopefully, offering him the sweetest of smiles. She even takes a lingering look at his strained shirt in what might be a slightly flirty sort of way. That or she's trying to read the band logo. The leather jacket slides off once she's settled into a seat, showing off what is even to them a rather impressive amount of tattooing on her.
The logo features a skull and overly elaborate Gothic script, seemingly twined with chains. Or roses. Or chain-roses. So... yeah. That probably narrows it down to a couple of hundred bands.
The tender nods, barely even glancing around as he snares a bottle with one hand, the other collecting a glass - it might even actually be *made* of glass - from beneath the bar, holding it up questioningly, while studying Sadie (and her tattoos) with evident interest. In that, he's far from alone.
You know those prickles you get on the back of your neck when someone is looking at you? Sadie doesn't have that. She has that feeling up and down her neck, her back and both her arms. She must be getting studied pretty well by multiple people. So with her jacket on her lap, she sits at her barstool and slooooowly turns it to look around. Now instead of facing the bar, she's facing the seat next to her and making a bit of a show of looking around at the fixtures and decor. "Place is nicer than I'm used to," she mentions absently, dropping the words like bait leading back to her.
"We try." The bartender's voice is a deep rumble, rather expertly pitched to carry little farther than Sadie's own ears. "Hold a special 'puke on the floor Wednesday' special event every now and then," he explains, tone bone-dry. "Make sure the guys feel at home. But generally we try to keep it clean. Helps us get in more of the local bands, that way." He nods towards the darkest corner of the room... which does actually look to be a miniature stage (perhaps more of a dais, really), with a bit of a lighting rig above it. "Also gives folks less of a chance to pick fights, if we make sure *everyone* treats it with respect."
'Respect', in this case, clearly allows for bike-boots resting on the seating, and there're more than a few initials (and comments) carved into the bar... but everything in view does seem to be in working order and at least approximately clean.
"Remind me not to come on Wednesdays," Sadie says with a bit of a grin. "Though I do like live music. Any good bands coming soon? I just got back into town so trying to figure out interesting ways to pass the time. Maybe make some new friends since the old ones ain't so much friendly anymore." Her fingertips absently trace over initials dug into the bar in front of her. All calm and casual is she.
"Chained Raptor play next, tomorrow night. Devil on the Road, too. Then Blood of the Chosen're holding a gig on Saturday." He studies Sadie rather pensively, gaze flickering to and fro between her face and her visible tattoos. "Looking for new friends, huh? Well, you could do a lot worse than here. Murph runs a... zero-tolerance policy to people giving women shit in his place. You get yourself in trouble once you're out of here, you're on your own. But the ones who can't learn to play nice don't come here any more. Make no promises for anyone in here having what you want - but if they give you what you *don't* want when you're in here, then Murph's got the backing of all the local club presidents to keep this a neutral bar people feel safe coming to."
"Neutral? Good. Means I probably won't get shit in here because of former friendships." Sadie nods absently and takes a drink of her beer. "Murph sounds like good people. Be sure to tell him it's greatly appreciated." A smile is flashed again, not toward the bartender but to a guy nearby that's looked, or is still looking, in her direction, but it's still the bartender that the words are meant for: "So these bands any good? Maybe I'll come back. Least the service here is good."
"I'm banging the bassist in Chained Raptor, so I'd best tell you they're fucking awesome, or she'll kill me," the tender says dryly - while the smiled-at guy chokes on his beer, prompting a *wholly* sympathetic laugh and overly vigorous bit of 'helpful' back-slapping from the nearest of his buddies. "But yeah - Chained Raptor're pretty good, even without the bass player twisting my arm. Or anything else. Devil on the Road... think it's fair to say they do best when the crowd's already warmed-up and've been drinking for an hour or two. Blood of the Chosen? Can get a pretty, uhh, *mixed* crowd. They pack the place out, but if you've got issues with the Brotherhood, you might not wanna be here then. They're *not* a Brotherhood band, but they're seriously into that whole occult Nazi schtick thing. I've done security at a couple of bigger venues, where they could put on proper show. Can be pretty flashy, least as far as the in-State scene goes. And the music's pretty good."
Sadie laughs a bit at the choking guy. "You alright there, man? Come on, tell me the truth, these guys really good?" She looks back at the bartender for a moment, like she's studying him a bit. "So you guys got an occult band? Might maybe be a scene I'm interested in. Especially if the music's pretty good. Their bass player as rock solid as you? Cuz ya know, girls got a thing for guys with arms as big as our heads, especially when they're good at keeping rhythm." Yeah, she's definitely in a lighthearted flirty kinda mode right now.
There's a sort of gargling, wheezing noise as Sadie's 'victim' tries to combine choking with coughing at the same time as trying to form words. The latest *whump* onto the back of his jacket from his buddy might clear his throat, but it also renders him pretty much silent as he struggles for breath.
"Their bassist's a little smaller'n me," the tender answers, seemingly wholly unconcerned about his customer's health. "Most of the chicks at their gigs go for the lead singer. Something about the uniform, maybe, but he's a good-looking bastard, I suppose. They're with a local club called 'the Chosen'. Though I think there's a longer official name behind that somewhere. If you're serious about wanting an introduction, I can give you one on Saturday, for sure. Or the guy over there who you're *not* killing, he signed up with the Chosen a couple of months back. There's another one of 'em in the head, right now. And if you're serious about the arms? I dunno whether I should introduce you to Steph, or keep the two of you the fuck away from each other."
"Steph sounds like someone I /definitely/ need to meet," Sadie replies with a grin before nodding toward the choking guy. "Get him and his buddies some shots. On me." She digs out a couple of crumpled bills from a pocket. Thirty bucks there, a ten and a twenty. She pushes the bills across the bar. "Just make sure they don't all choke on 'em. Wouldn't want the deaths of good looking guys on me." The guys are winked at before she turns back to the bartender. "Uniforms are a nice touch. You'd probably wear the fuck out of one."
The barkeep chuckles - a low rumble - then rolls his eyes. "Popular story is, I was in Delta-Force. *I* say I was nothing but a damned army firefighter. You can make your own call on how I looked in either uniform." He collects the money, moving to a till set out of sight below the bar, before setting about deftly serving up a trio of shots. Those, he sets on the bar before beckoning to the waitress, then returning some change to Sadie. "I guess Steph might like you, too. Which'd probably be bad for my health." Then he looks over as the blonde - 'cute' more than really pretty, but with the sort of toning you'd expect for a dancer - comes over. "These, for *them*, from *her*, Jill. Want to add a message or a name?" He and Jill both look quizzically to Sadie.
"Oh, I'm sure you'd look good in anything," Sadie murmurs to him sweetly as he collects up the money. Jill is nodded to. "Yeah, tell'm Sadie says she's sorry she almost killed one of 'em." She picks up some of the change and hands it over to Jill after nudging the rest back toward the back of the bar in a 'keep the change' kinda motion. "I feel real /real/ bad."
The waitress looks pleasantly surprised, her face lighting up in the kind of smile that probably does a lot to add to her tips. She tucks the cash away in a money belt, then adds the shots to her tray and sashays over to deliver them and the message to Sadie's marks - and provide a view to the rest of the bar, as she bends over.
The barkeep flashes a swift, broad grin, then slightly inclines head. "Thanks. The Chosen aren't a *big* club, but they've got some places of their own. Remember, Murph's rules don't hold once you're out the door here, unless it turns out they spiked your drinks or something. But the Chosen have a... well. Good and bad rep. Pretentious bunch of freaks, many'd say. Bunch of bookworm pussies, even. But they've held their own when pushed, and the ones who come here're good customers. So if you wind up leaving with them, you'll *probably* keep your ride, at a guess."
"Well, I can take care of myself. But hopefully I won't have to," is said before Sadie takes another sip of her beer and lets her eyes glance over to watch the drinks get delivered. "And maybe I never grew out of the teenage wannabe goth thing, but I got a bit of a thing for the whole occult. Not that I think it's necessarily real, but birds of a feather an' all that. Be interesting to see what they know. Or think they know. Wow, that girl's got one helluvan ass. Why aren't you tapping that?" She must be talking about Jill. But she still waits to see how the drinks are reacted to.
"She's Murph's daughter," the barkeeper says. "Which scared me the fuck off trying it, before I met Steph. Now, Steph'd be in a race with Murph for who'd kill me first. Or she'd team up with him." He offers another quick grin. "But the view *is* one of the best bits of this job."
The drinks are partly ignored, at first, in favour of looking down Jill's vest as she bends over... but after the message is delivered, even the still-wheezing one manages a very happily surprised grin, raising the shot in thanks... but not quite daring to risk downing it just yet. His buddy raises his own glass, then uses his free hand to gesture an invitation.
"As far as I know, they're not wannabe vampires cutting chicks to drink blood, or the like," the tender says quietly. "Can point you to a club 'bout fifteen miles away that offers *that*, if you're into it. But they can seem pretty serious about 'unlocking the mysteries of the past' and stuff - no goats and pentangles or talk about demon-summoning, but instead... well. They try to recruit me now and then, but can't say I understand too much. Something to do with the spirit of the people as a force of destiny, and tapping that for... you probably get more of what they mean than I do."
Sadie's slight scrunch to her face and quick shake of her head shows she's not interested in the whole vampire thing, at least not today. But she does lean in a bit as she listens. "Well, I'm gonna go find out what I can about them, see if they're as interesting as you make them seem. But don't think I ain't gonna come see you again. And tell Steph she ain't gotta worry, I don't go /actually/ hittin' on someone else's guy, even if he's a strong bassist with rock solid arms." She does slide off her stool, beer in hand and jacket slung over her arm and elbow. "Like I said, just lookin' for some new friends is all." At that, she strolls over to the guys.
"Oh, I think she'll want to meet you. And I'm already worried about it," the barkeep responds.
Jill, going the other way, offers Sadie a bright smile... and a somewhat more intent look that might perhaps be checking that the generously-tipping stranger's all right. Then the two guys at the table are offering her a very warm welcome. The choked one looks as if he'd have trouble with getting carded in many joints, but is *probably* the right side of 21; the other's a couple of years older, with leathers that're both more expensive and more worn, and a beard that's both rather more deserving of the name and rather better-trimmed than his companion's effort. He's also got a badge on one shoulder that looks a little like some sort of religious icon - perhaps a chalice with a drop of blood above it? Hard to be sure in the less-than-perfect lighting.
"I'm Craps. The one you nearly killed is Dave," the more experienced of the duo says. He sounds much more local than the barkeep's rather more widely-travelled accent. "Dentist's the guy the other shot's for. If he ever comes back."
"Dentist a dentist?" Sadie asks with a grin as she claims a seat, jacket resting on the back of the seat and beer set in front of her. "Sorry Dave. Thanks for taking care of him, Craps. I'm Sadie. Banshee to my friends. And I just wanted to make sure Dave here's alright and say sorry."
"Oh, for sure. Just book an appointment," Craps says... not *quite* managing to keep an entirely straight face. Dave looks a liltle awestruck, but manages to conjure up a grin. "Uhh, hi. Yeah. Good to meet you, Banshee." His voice is rather huskier than is likely to be normal. "I'm fine. Just... ahh. Yeah." He coughs, blushing a bit behind his sparse beard."
"You look like maybe you can use another shot," Sadie offers. "Since Dentist ain't back yet, I won't tell if you won't." She reaches over and slides that shot toward Dave. "I'll get'm another if he wants. So, dude behind the bar said you guys are in a club that's got a bit of a musical following. And some interesting interests. Maybe I can hear about all that sometime. Just got up from Florida not long ago, ain't found anyone local to hang out with."
Dave glances to Craps as if for permission, but downs his own shot before snaring the 'spare'. "*I* am," Craps affirms. "Dave's... thinking about joining. And yeah, we've got a good band. And interests that're a bit different to most clubs. The founders wanted to figure out how the world works, and how we could use that. Not just spend a few years running meth labs, then wind up in endless turf wars."
"Shit don't get you much ahead," Sadie murmurs in agreement. Awww. Look at little Dave. Almost a probie. How cute. Sadie doesn't torment him for it, though, she just sits there all wide smiles and intent on listening. "How the world works? Pretty big thing to learn. If you don't mind sharin' whatcha know, that is. I'm always interested in learnin' things from new friends if I can maybe call ya that.If you got any interest in someone who might wanna patch over." Or in normal terms, join a new club after leaving one.
Dave looks as if he's not quite sure how to respond to the gorgeous stranger coming in and asking *his* questions... but mostly just settles for trying not to be too obvious in staring at Sadie, while listening to his elders talk. "Hah. Yeah. But how many Club Presidents out there are, y'know, modest? Ours just figured, well, if you're gonna act like you're king of the world...."
His voice trails off, gaze moving from Sadie as another man approaches the table. He looks as if he might well be old enough to be Dave's father, perhaps even Craps's too. Where Craps has self-assurance, there's at least a bit of unthinking authority to the new guy - and what looks like the upper fringe of some rather expensive ink, visible around his throat. He shoots Sadie a look that's unabashedly both curious and appreciative.
And to help things, Sadie may or may not have her chest half on display in that white tank top that barely covers her tattooed chest. And arms. And shoulders. And everything else. "So you sayin' he's what, actually king'a the world?" she asks Craps before turning to follow his gaze tot he new arrival. "Gonna guess this is Dentist," she murmurs as she looks him over and flashes him that wide smile. "Man after my own taste to judge by that ink." She does at least stand up as he approaches and holds out a hand. "Hi, I'm Banshee."
He delays accepting it for a moment, running his gaze over Sadie - perhaps checking for a weapon in the off-hand, if not simply enjoying the view. Then he clasps and shakes firmly. "Doc. Or Holliday, for some who like Westerns. But it seems like the comedian, here, is working on getting his new one to stick."
"Hey... if you offer teeth-pulling services to the guys, whaddya expect?", Craps protests with a grin and a rather ineffectual attempt to look innocent. "And wasn't Holliday a dentist anyway?"
Doc briefly casts his eyes heavenwards, before refocusing upon Sadie. "You've had more work done than me, which ain't too common. Looks like good stuff, too. Don't recognise it or your name, though. New in the area?" He gestures an invitation for Sadie to reclaim her seat, before moving to take his own.
"Took about four years total," Sadie says as she reclaims her seat. Either she isn't armed at the moment or it's cleverly hidden. She knows better than to go fully strapped in plain view in this instance. "I just got up from down south. Craps was just telling me a bit about the club and some of what makes ya different than the rest. Outside of the ability to see /good/ ink instead of just ink." She winks at him a bit. "I'm thinking of patching over if I find a good fit."
Doc nods, reclaiming his beer and taking a sip from the bottle. "Well, we're not *just* here so Craps can be the latest guy knocked back by Jill. The club likes to have people around who can answer a few questions, if people're interested. We don't go in for active poaching, but if people wanna find us and talk...." He shrugs, then takes another sip. "Who were you with, down South?"
Sadie's beer is at her lips as she says, "Buncha blowhards go by Knight's Watch." She knocks the beer back a little, eyes studying Doc's face for a reaction. In her mind, it can go one of two ways. Either he'll be potentially very interested in that tidbit or he'll shut her down right then and there. So she just watches and waits for his reaction.
Both his brows lift, and he pauses, studying Sadie over his own bottle before taking another - thoughtful-looking - drink. "That so? Huh. And, ahh, how'd you come to have a parting of the ways?"
"Because they think they know everything and turns out they maybe don't know shit," Sadie offers. "Or at least they ain't interested in someone wanting to expand her knowledge base and satisfy her curiosity. Mostly I got kinda tired of the whole God shit. So I think maybe you see why I heard about you lot and thought maybe I might have found some kindred spirits in what interests me."
"Huh," Doc says again, still looking decidedly thoughtful. Craps looks... impressed. Perhaps a trifle worried. Definitely not about to butt in. Dave looks a little awe-struck, but that might just be Sadie herself rather than having any clue about what's going on.
"Okay. You've got my interest. Safe to say you'll have the interest of the officers, too." He suddenly sounds a little more educated - though still not someone to take home to visit the parents. "But the outline? I'd guess what Craps was saying'd be something about figuring out the world? That's kinda what we're aiming at. There's a whole tangle of secrecy out there. Not just one web of lies, but layer on layer of 'em. Some twisted up in each other, some on their own. We don't claim to know all of what's going on. But we're working on it. And we think we're getting places, too. The hidden world's got *far* more to offer than most clubs ever dream of. As I guess you might've seen with your old club, huh?"
"Can't claim to be an expert on your old club... but best I know is that they're in deep with one or two of the webs," Doc says softly - evidently partly for the benefit of the others: Craps looks more worried; Dave more awestruck. "They know about a lot of the lies. Most likely, they've spun more than a few, too. They're in a lot deeper than most people ever get. Or ever *survive* getting. But yeah - they're kinda jealous about it all. And *so* heavy on that whole God thing. We've not been at it so long as they have, but we're not hamstringing ourselves by getting caught up in trying to pretend to be angels serving God, or whatever. Specially not ones who get paid to take on hits. What we're after, as best we can find it, is the truth *and* the lies. So we can learn about both."
Sadie maybe catches Craps' expression because she offers him a smile and reaches a hand out toward his, apparently moving to pat it gently as if in reassurance. It's Doc she talks to, though. "See what I mean? They're just-- I'm tired of being dicked around. Either ya tell me upfront what the fuck's going on or let me find someone who will. So I'm taking the second option, I guess. See, I know shit's going down and I aim to be in the thick of it. Don't much care if they think they're on the side of some Almighty so long as I'm looking out for me and mine. So maybe we got an understanding where I come from and why?"
Craps offers a shit-eating grin that probably *does* work on a fair few girls... though he rather had to dial it up from memory. Doc nods slowly. "Yeah. I think I do. There'll probably be a few people keen to talk to you about your old club. Us? You'll understand if we don't give out everything just for the asking. But we're making some real progress. Things're... moving, guess you could say. Your timing's pretty good, for that."
It's Sadie's turn to raise her eyebrows a little. "Oh? Something happening? I mean, not lookin' for details. I know ya earn that shit. Just kinda curious why now's a better time than another. Might be I can maybe bring something to the table someone might find interesting or useful. Assuming you guys are the real deal and not just another group like I left." Her voice inflicts to imply that she does not apparently think her last club was the real deal, nor did they have anything of interest for her.
"Someone's web unravelled recently," Doc answers readily enough. "There've been... things falling loose from it. People chasing scraps. Pulling on threads. We've managed to get hold of what might be the best in the whole web. And we're hoping to track down some more. But even just what we have already... it's *good*." There's real satisfaction in his voice.
Sadie looks suitably impressed. "Well hot damn. That's already more than I think they ever really had," she murmurs. She keeps her voice low enough to just hit the table and those around it. "So, what's next? You thinking maybe I can get an introduction or something? I don't wanna step on toes, but if something big and real is starting, I don't wanna miss out."
"Fuck, yeah," Craps says softly - though he *does* look to Doc for confirmation. The latter frowns, taking a long sip, before nodding slowly. "Coupla ways we could handle it. You wanna meet some of the guys on neutral turf, at a bit of a party? The band're doing a gig here on Saturday. Could easily introduce you to some folks then. And you'd have the safety of Murph and his boys to watch out for you. Or... I could talk to the guys about seeing you sooner. But that'd be on our turf, most likely, if you're to meet the Club's officers. And that's a bit more trust than we'd normally ask, for someone changing patch to watch into alone. I'd be there; can make sure Craps is. Maybe even Dave, too. But we'd be it for anyone you'd met before."
Sadie sucks in some air between her teeth as if she's stuck between a rock and a hard place and has to decide the lesser of two evils or something. "Think might be best we catch the band on Saturday. Not that I don't trust you and yours but a girl's gotta watch her back in unknown territory. Best be neutral all around first time out. But it'd be nice if you'd be there, maybe these two, too?"
"I will be for sure," Craps puts in eagerly. Doc nods, before Dave does so as well. "Looks like you get all three of us," the eldest says dryly. "I can't promise all the officers'll be there, but there'll be at least a couple."
Craps favours Sadie with another grin. "And the music's worth it, anyway."
Sadie does grin at Craps. "Well I do like good music, so least it won't be a wasted trip if nobody else shows. Plus I got my three new friends and one helluva bartender back there. What more can ya ask for?" She kicks back the rest of her beer and sets the empty bottle on the table. "So gentlemen, I'll be seeing you, and maybe some others, on Saturday."
"Most of the club should be here, but the band draws in a pretty good crowd even without us," Doc says. "It was great to meet you, Banshee," Craps puts in eagerly - earning himself a look mingling amusement with reproach, from his superior. "Feel free to choke Dave any time you want," the younger Chosen continues blithely.
The not-yet-a-probie offers a sheepish grin, then raises his own beer. "See you on Saturday, for sure."